Labor Day Travel: Traffic up, gas prices down

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Labor Day weekend is officially here - brace yourself for the impact, especially on our roads.

AAA anticipates the highest travel volume for Labor Day weekend in six years, with 34.7 million people. Now, imagine that on our roads, because most people plan to drive.

This is a reminder: if you're sticking around town, avoid the obvious spots - Highway 501, Kings Highway, and Ocean Boulevard, where we will see a lot of hotel traffic, especially Friday. While we may start to see the impact around noon, check in time for hotels is between 3 to 4 p.m. As far as checkout, you may notice more cars on the roads Monday, around 11 a.m.

Hampton Inn & Suites, as well as the 14 Vacation Myrtle Beach resorts, are almost sold out for the weekend. Hotel managers aren't the only one saying this is going to be a busy holiday weekend. named Myrtle Beach one of the top Labor Day travel destinations. The website specifically saw a huge jump in last-minute searches for trips to our beaches.

"Labor Day is a lot of last-minute, it's been that way for years," said Tom Moore, General Manager of Hampton Inn & Suites."You look at it out and it's not booking, even the week before doesn't book because of all the back to school starting back and then last-minute it fills in."

To help you get around, SCDOT has a new and free addition to their smartphone app and website called "Reach the Beach." It will let you know how long it will take you to get to and from the beach, so you can plan ahead. Find it here:

If you plan to drive, it will cost you much less than previous holidays and previous years. Labor Day gas prices have gone down 24-cents a gallon since the Fourth of July, according to AAA. Even better, South Carolina still has the cheapest prices nationwide, at an average of $3.17.

In our area, AAA is finding the most expensive gas in Myrtle Beach, and the cheapest in the Pee Dee. If you're headed across the state border, expect to pay about 15 cents more.

Find the cheapest gas prices in our area here:

Will this gift of cheap gas continue? As long as a major development, like a hurricane doesn't happen, AAA says prices are likely to remain low. Despite tensions overseas, U.S. refineries have an abundance of supply. If these trends continue, the prediction is prices will continue to drop through early November.

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